6
   

Can the faithful be helped by exorcism?

 
 
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 06:30 pm
Two articles in today's paper lead to this question:

One was about a family that built their 2 million dollar dream home and are afraid to move into it because a schizophrenic woman belives Ted Turner built the house especially for her to live in. She has stalked and harrassed the people who actually own the home.

The other was about a church preforming an exorcism of sorts to cast out a "homosexual demon" out of a young man.

Out of curiosity I started googling and came across an old 20/20 episode where they filmed an exorcism. It was pretty interesting. Here is part one:



(There are four parts, you have to click on them all if you want to watch the whole thing.)

I don't really believe in God or the Devil but I'm wondering.... if exorcism could be a sort of mind over matter thing.

If someone really believes in God and the Devil and that people can be possessed by demons, if they are truly faithful, do you think they could be helped by exorcism?

Or, if you are one of the truly faithful, do you believe exorcism is a legitimate tool?

Thanks!
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 06:36 pm
@boomerang,
Yeah, mind over matter is what I thought of too. I do think that the brain is able to do some pretty amazing things, and that manipulating the brain can have real physical effects. I don't mean just in a cuckoo goofball way either -- for example, I've read some really interesting things about using mirrors to retrain the brains of people who have had amputations and have phantom pain in their missing limbs...

Here we go (not what I originally read, but the same idea):

http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/03/19/mirror.therapy/index.html

Quote:
Paupore was flown to Germany, where doctors fought to save his life. He survived, but they couldn't save his leg.

And he was in excruciating pain -- in the leg he no longer had.

Dr. Jack Tsao, a Navy neurologist with the Uniform Services University, was looking for ways to help soldiers like Paupore. He remembered reading in graduate school a paper by Dr. V.S. Ramachandran that talked about an unusual treatment for amputees suffering "phantom limb pain," using a simple $20 mirror.

The mirror tricks the brain into "seeing" the amputated leg, overriding mismatched nerve signals.

Here's how it works: The patient sits on a flat surface with his or her remaining leg straight out and then puts a 6-foot mirror lengthwise facing the limb. The patient moves the leg, flexing it, and watches the movement in the mirror. The reflection creates the illusion of two legs moving together.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 06:37 pm
The Placebo Effect can be very powerful
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 07:10 pm
The brain is an amazing thing. It can convince us of all kinds of things.

Like this woman and the house.... she really belives it is her house:

Quote:
The stalker is Brittany Schon Fern, 44, a mentally ill woman who became obsessed with Eudene and Dale Hult's house in 2007, before the custom-built 8,000-square-foot home even had walls.

What happened during the next two years -- a frustrating cycle of police reports, verbal and written warnings, trespass citations, court hearings -- shows how hard it can be to resolve disputes based on mental illness.

Fern resolutely believes media mogul Ted Turner intends to give her the house. "She's gone to the neighbors to ask where the cameras are hidden," said Eudene Hult, so Fern will know where to look in mock surprise as Turner's people hand her the key to her new mansion.


She's gone into the house and fired workers and changed things, all manner of things.

Here's the full story: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/06/stalker_tries_to_take_over_cou.html

Even though I think the brain is a tricky thing I easily pooh-pooh the idea of exorcism.

Watching the 20/20 video it's clear that the Catholic church looks at possession with real skepticism but when they think it might help, they're willing to try.

It's this "trying" that has me interested.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 07:44 pm
@boomerang,
I don't happen to believe in god, or demons. Believing in one, but not the other doesn't seem a bit less logical than believing in both, or either.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 07:49 pm
As a kid I had two exorcisms performed on me, I had no idea what the hell they were trying to fix other than my rambunctious nature but it did succeed in scaring the **** out of me the first time (especially since the whole "laying on of hands" thing just meant a bunch of adults manhandling me to the floor, and because "speaking in tongues" really just comes across as psychotic if you aren't a religious nut), and I did try to make sure I avoided things that might trigger them in the future.

I imagine it can be "useful" kinda as a cross between an intervention and shock therapy.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 08:17 pm
@Robert Gentel,
****.

For real?

Robert, you give me hope that people can overcome the most absurd bullshit that life can dish out. Seriously. I read what you reveal about your childhood and I just smack my head against the wall in disbelief.

The "homosexual demon" exorcism is no longer available on youtube. It was strange to see this evengelical exorcism v. the Catholic exorcism -- the whole attitude surrounding it was so very, very different.

I'm not sure what makes it so different. I'd like to know why I think that. I guess I'll have to ponder it for a while.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 08:24 pm
When I was a kid, I watched a preacher cast a demon out of a man, in private, after services. I was present, because the preacher was my ride every Sunday. I was very young, but it was my impression that this man believed he had demons on a regular basis, and only a preacher could give any relief. If anything, the incident helped turn me away from the church.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 08:59 pm
@edgarblythe,
When my mom was a young girl, living in an Oklahoma "oil patch" town, Billy Graham used to come and do tent revivals. She watched him heal people she knew. People who she knew were sick or crippled or whatever.

My mom is not an evangelical Christian by any stretch of the imagination but she had a hard time not believing. Still, she didn't really believe either....

Her own mom, my grandmother, died while my mom was in high school. Now I'm wondering if they ever tried to have her "healed".....

Maybe that's why my mom believed and didn't believe. I'm going to have to ask her about it.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  5  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 09:04 pm
@Robert Gentel,
The exorcism ritual is superstitious nonsense.

Whether or not it can have a placebo effect on troubled adults is open to discussion.

Using it on children is abuse.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 09:07 pm
@boomerang,
My uncle once told me his wife's sister was offered money to be "healed" by Oral Roberts. The man offering the deal said Roberts had no knowledge of the deception. Hearsay, of course - -

0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 09:54 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
For real?


Yeah, it wasn't too uncommon in that group (hell when they came back home form outside they'd pray against "hitchhiking spirits") and now that I think of it I had at least 4. The first was when I was about 5, I was into paper airplanes and tried to make a plastic airplane out of a triangular ruler in the middle of this very serious prayer meeting they were having. I was having a hard time bending it so I sat on it (everyone was on the floor speaking in tongues and the kids were fidgeting and trying to get past the hours and hours this went on) it snapped in the middle of them speaking in tongues which was a big downer on their whole spirit trip they had going on.

They decided that I was "out of the spirit" and while they didn't believe I could be possessed they believed that bad spirits could be "afflicting" me so they held an exorcism that night. I remember it as being very sweaty, with so many hands on me for so long and it was pretty hard to come up with some "tongues" that didn't sound ridiculous (it really did seem like a big joke they were playing on us with the tongues thing).

The second time wasn't long after and was a follow up to the first. I just wasn't "in the spirit" enough but I don't remember what made that one happen.

Then as a teenager I started stealing sweets from the pantry for a while and burying them in the woods around the house, I stole a lot more stuff so it wasn't as innocent as it can sound. I was getting bolder and bolder. I stole the next morning's breakfast corn bread out of the oven and hit the woods with it. I even stole a bunch of stuff out of the bus bringing home the groceries by tossing the stuff I wanted out to a friend.

I was stealing stuff all day every day around the house, stupid stuff like BBQ skewers that served as nice swords for the buddy doing all the stealing with me to play with in the woods.

Anywho, they finally got sick of it and had a meeting with the whole house asking who did it, everyone noticed that we'd been distributing a bunch of goodies to them so they fingered us and we had to be rid of these demons that were causing us to steal.

The last time was because I pissed on a Bible, and it ultimately got me kicked out of the group and made them send a notice out to the whole group to pray for me and my afflicting spirits.

Maybe it works for some people, but it didn't work very well for me except to make me try to avoid them.

Quote:
The "homosexual demon" exorcism is no longer available on youtube. It was strange to see this evengelical exorcism v. the Catholic exorcism -- the whole attitude surrounding it was so very, very different.

I'm not sure what makes it so different. I'd like to know why I think that. I guess I'll have to ponder it for a while.


I'm not sure if this is the factor but for me a big difference in the varying exorcisms I've seen is the level of violence and aggression. In my cases it wasn't too aggressive other than the smothering of the "laying of hands" but for others it sometimes involved being tied up and being beat. I think some can be very benign (I'd rate mine closer to that end of the spectrum) while some I think should result in the people going to jail.

Quote:
Robert, you give me hope that people can overcome the most absurd bullshit that life can dish out.


Well I didn't have it as bad as others who did not get past it. This girl here was caused great harm by her exorcisms. What they did to her turns my stomach just from the details they were willing to publish, and the things that were not published were a lot worse.

This is an excerpt from a published transcript (a group of us who document the cult have the original publication scanned and archived here [PDF]) leading up to the beginning of a series of exorcisms and public beatings she endured:

Quote:
49. I have a rod here, will you please bring it to me.. You see this? Pass it to her, let her feel it. I want you to feel this, how heavy it is.

64. … If they have to use a rod to beat him [Satan] out of you, fine, you've got my permission. (Sara: Yes sir I'll do it!) If you've got to slap her to wake her up and get her out of that kind of spirit, slap her! Slap her good! Knock her around! Let her have it! …

74. Now get out, you damn devil, and leave her alone, or I'm going to whack the daylights out of her! (She cries.) Thank God that's the first time I think I've seen tears! Are you sorry? (MB: Yes sir!) But if you're not sorry, I'm going to make you sorry!…

81. You think you're going to make it up there (in the system) somehow? The only way you could make it is to be a whore, that's all! You wouldn't even be an FFer, you wouldn't even be doing it for God, you'd just be doing it for a living. You'd probably end up on drugs " a drug demon possessed, alcoholic, diseased whore and soon dead! Now is that what you want? (MB: No sir!)…

114. The Lord took hold of her head … and yanked it around and back and forth and side ways to side ways by my hands until I was afraid I was going to yank her head off or break her neck! God was so angry... And then I hauled off and slapped her I don't know how many times tonight, hard, right? (MB: Yes sir!) And hit you....

145. … if it takes a good beating up to make you want to get rid of it, then we're going to beat you up!…

183. … if that doesn't work then what can we do? We can't kill you, that's God's business. We'll have to get rid of you.

185. Nobody want's to sleep with you, they're actually afraid of you because you've been under the control of the Devil…

189. I suggest you tie her to the bed.

190. Make sure she goes to the toilet the very last thing. I don't care if you wet the bed, dear, your hands are going to be tied to the sides of that bed at night

194. If beating doesn't get the hell out of you, you're going to get the hell out of here: I want you to memorise that. (MB: If beating you doesn't get the hell out of you, you're going to get the hell out of here!)

199. She's not to be alone at any time from now on. Someone is to be with her at all times who is big and strong and spiritual enough that you just absolutely knock it out of her.

215. If you don't get rid of those demons … you may have to get whipped in bed caned in bed.


This girl had some mental problems to begin with and she has struggled with this stuff for years. I saw her a few years ago, almost 20 years later, after she was released from jail and she's still not ok. She's spent much of the interim on the streets in and out of jail. They told her she'd only be able to be a "whore", and it ended up being a self-fulfilling prophecy (this has been published in Rolling Stone, which is why I can disclose it) and she spent a long time on the streets addicted and supporting herself that way, rejecting any help that came her way that reminded her of her past.

A lot of people unfortunately don't overcome this kind of thing, and quite frankly I'm not a huge fan of even the more benign stuff because it's only a bit more loony to take these beliefs in demons and possession to a much more dangerous place. They did this to her up to 50 times a day, and I feel it greatly contributed to her subsequent insanity.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 09:59 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
The exorcism ritual is superstitious nonsense.

Whether or not it can have a placebo effect on troubled adults is open to discussion.

Using it on children is abuse.


I feel that it is an abuse of a weaker mind even for adults, it's a form of aversion therapy at best and I'm pretty down on all of them.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 10:08 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Here is a video from a news clip showing one of the cult leaders (in disguise) talking about the exorcisms they performed on Merry.

0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 05:14 am
@boomerang,
The "homosexul demon" stuff makes me want to spit chips and bite people's arms off.


And that's without seeing the clip.

I useed to work near some of those nutty churches that did that to people.....and for gay kids, for example, having their sexual orientation labelled as demonic by people who have been important in their lives...well, unless they have a great deal of resilience and spport, I have seen then kill themselves, spend a large amount of time crippled emotionally....etc. etc. Jut thinkingof sitting in the room with these poor kids who believe their sexual feelings to be demonic still brings tears to my eyes.


As for kids with first psychosis, bi-polar........AAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH. Since these churches lso demonise mental health practitioners. To be experiencing thehorrors of psychosis/deep depression etc and to be told you have the devil in you............it's too awful for these people.

While I an see exorism as possibly a good placebo for truly consenting adults with minor problems, even then it still concens me for reasons that would take a lot of talking to go into, and i can't sit for long enough to do justice to it.

0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 10:16 am
Robert, I've been reading your link and links from that link and I have to say that is a profoundly distrubing group.

There are currently two cases in our court concerning children who died while their parents tried to pray them into health. Strangly enough, the dead children were cousins; one was about 1 1/2 years old and the other about 15. I think the kid's ages and ability to consent to the "treatment" will be a big determining factor in both cases.

When adults get involved with this kind of ideology I don't really care. When they subject their children to it, I get worried. Oregon's stance on both the above cases is "neglect is neglect" and parents/caregivers can't hide behind religion to avoid prosecution for neglect.

The gay kid was an older teen. I wonder if he went to the exorcism willingly or if he was forced.

I thought it was interesting in the 20/20 video that I linked above that the group who preformed the exorcism didn't tell the girl why they were there that day. I do think she was aware that exorcism was being discussed for her.

Strange, isn't it, that, so many reported exorcisms are on children and teens. I wonder if there are any documented cases on adults or the elderly.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 03:48 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
Can the faithful be helped by exorcism?

Some people can be helped with placebos. It all depends on what ails ya.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 05:47 pm
I guess I mean something more than the placebo effect but I'm not coming up with the right words. "Spiritual health" or "emotional health" is about the best I can do right now.

I was reading Robert's link about Merry and clicked on the link to "Merry's story". I was surprised at the conclusion:

Quote:
In conclusion, I have been greatly abused in many ways. Many times I was tempted to get bitter and blame God for it because I thought it was coming from His hand. There were times I also doubted His existence. But when it came down it it, in the times of deepest crisis I had no other refuge to flee to but Him. He was the One Who worked things out. The scripture came alive to me at that time, "There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24). So I prayed earnestly many times, "Lord, help me not to get bitter against You or harden my heart. Give me a solid, strong faith that cannot be shaken no matter what."

I rejoice to tell you that He did just that.....

I want to encourage everyone to dedicate their lives fully to Jesus Christ and to always put their trust in God


(more: http://www.xfamily.org/index.php/Merry%27s_Story)

I wish I was better at explaining myself, I don't understand belief very well and I've made trying to understand it a hobby for many years.

I guess I really think of the brain as what some people describe as the soul. So in that frame of reference, I believe in the soul. (Maybe sole would be a better way for me to spell it.)

I would love to see an MRI of a person being exorcised. I would like to know if something happens.


Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 07:35 pm
@boomerang,
That was a short-lived perspective for what its worth and solicited by ex-cult members who were still very religious folk.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 07:42 pm
I think that's worth a lot, a whole lot.

I watched some interviews with her and was puzzled by them.

I feel for her.

That video you posted both broke my heart and totally pissed me off.
 

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